February 6, 2012

Here comes the sun, doot-n-doo-doo

OK, so obviously I care about the environment and wanna get people to think about how they live their lives and what kind of impact that makes on the Earth.  I’ve always thought that wind power was an amazing idea, equally as good as solar power.  But now it turns out maybe not, in the long run.

My Earth Science teacher from last year, Mr. Hoekbaard, emailed a bunch of us who run the Environment Club at our school about this article he thought we would find intriguing.  We’ve been, um, discussing it a lot, which is really saying something, ’cause we’re a hyper-opinionated group.  Anyway, it’s from New Scientist, and it’s completely fascinating, and you should absolutely read it.  It basically says that as the global demand for energy grows (’cause of population growth, and more people getting access to energy), nuclear energy is too risky, and large-scale wind power could negatively affect the environment, too.  Strap on your nerd helmet, ’cause this here’s a diagram to show how it works:

This basically shows why solar is going to be the way to go. Copyright New Scientist.

One of the scientists quoted in the article says:

Sagan used to preach to me, and I now preach to my students, that any intelligent civilisation on any planet will eventually have to use the energy of its parent star, exclusively.

If that doesn’t blow your mind, read the last third of the article, about how pulling down cool air from the four jet streams of wind ten kilometers above the Earth could be harnessed to “geoengineer” the temperature of the Earth.  In other words, counteract and even reverse the effects of global warming.

I know what you’re thinking.  You’re like, This is all really far in the future.  But it shouldn’t be.  It could start happening more now.

Not sure why? But this article makes me really happy.  Hence, my totally corny title for this post, which is a nod to my mom and dad and their olde-tyme musical tastes.  Also, I’m finally finished with all the stuff I was supposed to do today, so now I can treat myself to the latest episode of “Fringe”.  Don’t worry, I’ll be watching on the lowest-possible brightness level on my computer to save energy.  ; )


February 6, 2012

NASA is freaking me out

In a good way, of course.

Normally, my friends, I like to pay attention to very, very long periods of time, and the big picture.  But you know, I saw something last week that I keep thinking about.  One of my colleagues sent me a link to this video from NASA, which shows what has happened to the earth over what most people nowadays think of as “a long time”.  It’s a video showing how temperatures all over the world have changed since people started keeping track of these things in the late 1880s — the Industrial Revolution, basically.  In 26 seconds, you can see how the temperature of the Earth has risen since then.

Screenshot of NASA's climate measuring video.

(The video is in Flash; iPhone or iPad users should use this YouTube link instead.)

Climate Central, where the link Flash link is posted, has an excellent explanation of how the scientists at NASA figured out the data, and some of the comments are helpful, too. (Some, maybe not so much.)

This is a fairly compelling thing to see, no?  So much happens in such a relatively short time, when you take into account the fact that the Earth is several billions of years old.

Of course, the heat generated from Madonna’s Super Bowl halftime show has not been factored into the computations (yet).  I must confess to you, my friends, it absolutely knocked my socks off.

Time for a bowl of leftover sancocho, then back to analyzing my phytoliths.

January 10, 2012

You’re least responsible? Here’s the worst deal.

Some people at McGill University (known to some as the Harvard of Canada — but I call Harvard the McGill of the States) recently figured out what a lot of environmentally-oriented folks have suspected for a while now: the people in the world who’re most vulnerable to bad stuff happening from climate change are those least responsible for causing it. GOOD magazine wrote about it, which is a pretty, uh, good publication if you ask me.

They made this thing called the Climate Demographic Vulnerability Index, — yup, the CDVI — to show which areas of the world are gonna be in the most trouble as population increases and temperatures rise, even just a little bit.

Basically, the hottest places will only get hotter, which’ll make it harder to grow food.  Places like Somalia, for example.  As populations, of course, get bigger and bigger.

Unfair?  What isn’t.  Just hope somebody’s paying attention on the world scale who cares about making things even a little bit fairer.

I know I sound like I’m down in the dumps, but this kinda stuff really chaps my butt.

Meantime, I guess I better ditch those plans to move to Somalia and stay put here at the store.  (Twist my arm, why don’cha.)  Easier to watch the icebergs melt up here anyway.

Dang, somebody better cheer me up.

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